Greasing palms

St James' Park, Newcastle
We don't need no - advertisements!

Well, despite over 500 objections being listed on the council’s website Fat Mike Ashley has been given the go-ahead to drape adverts for his dodgy merchandise all over a landmark in Newcastle city centre – to whit, St James’ Park. I mentioned the story a few weeks ago.

One wonders who’s getting a few free tickets for the executive l0unge in exchange for this travesty. And, yes, I am insinuating that someone on the council is corrupt. Much as I assume someone was getting backhanders to shut the Mayfair to allow construction of The Gate all those years ago.

Permission has been granted “subject to conditions” but the website’s down right now so the link to this information isn’t working.

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Hands off our stadium!

St James' Park, Newcastle (2)
As it is and should remain

Thanks to the guys at for bringing this to my attention. And lots of other people judging by the comments on the planning department’s website.

What am I on about? Well, late last year the money-grabbing lunatics in charge of Newcastle United decided it would be a great idea to rename the stadium. This was universally met with derision and scathing comments… and seemed the be dropped. After one week stating that from that point henceforth, the ground would be (and must be by all press agencies doing so) referred to as “Sports Direct @ St James’ Park”, this reference was dropped in all the official press releases and it seemed as if the muppets had seen sense.

Apparently not.

Currently under review with Newcastle Council’s planning department are plans to hang several enormous signs from the stadium with the new branding on them. This would turn one of the best-known stadia in the country – which can be seen from miles around due to its elevated position – into an advertising hoarding for one of the tackiest “sports” shops in the country.

Please, take the time to visit the link below. At the time of writing, there were 56 objections to the plans, most of which had been entered today after the news was released on It takes a couple of minutes to register and you don’t need to be a Newcastle resident to do so (though given that locals will vote for councillors, I feel their opinions will be given more attention).

Once you’ve done so, comment on the plans and object. All comments are forwarded to the relevant planning officer. Let’s swamp his inbox!

The links in question:

Application summary and links to plans etc

Application comments posted to date

Pass this information on so as many people as possible know what’s going on. Thank you.

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Keep St James’ Park as St James’ Park

Photograph of St James Park Stadium, Newcastle
It's already got a name

Copy of an email sent to the following addresses:

[Ampersand are the company who will be looking to find a sponsor for the whole rebranding mess surrounding Mike Ashley‘s attempts to sell a part of Newcastle’s heritage in exchange for some money. Money he lost by being a complete idiot when it came to running a football club.]

Along with tens of thousands of others, let me assure you that any company paying towards the rebranding of St James’ Park with from that day forth receive no money whatsoever from my pocket. If you’re looking for a way to get the name of a company out there on a wave of bad publicity then you’re going the right way about it.

Not just Newcastle fans, but fans of many other clubs are up in arms over the horrendous way in which our history and part of our identity are being ridden over roughshod by a man who has no shame, no knowledge of the footballing world and no idea of the amount of ire he’s capable of dragging up.

Whereas sponsoring one half of a rivalry could result in the other half boycotting your products, the rebranding of St James’ Park has had a negative response across the board – irrespective of the clubs supported. I even know of Sunderland fans who regard it as an insult. Believe me, for those people down the road to side with us against anyone shows the depth of loathing for Mr Ashley throughout the footballing world.

Do yourselves a favour and distance yourselves from him and his companies as best you can. Sure, you stand to make a fast buck (in the case of Ampersand) but whoever ends up with their name on our stadium – should this lunatic plan go ahead – will rapidly find themselves out of favour with a huge number of footballing fans. Already many sections of the media have pledges never to use the “new” name when reporting on the games so surely it’s just money down the toilet. Or into Mr Ashley’s pockets.

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Football fixtures on Google Calendar

Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United

A few weeks back I posted a link to my Google Calendar with the Newcastle United fixtures on. I had to do this as Google removed the “search” option so it was impossible to find any useful calendars.

They’ve not reintroduced this, but they have added a new slew of “Interesting Calendars” (their words) which include fixture details for a ton of football (sorry, “soccer”) teams as well as a plethora of other sports. As a bonus, you can watch the scores update in real-time-ish as the match progresses via the details on your calendar.

To get to them, look down the bottom left of your Google Calendar screen for “Other Calendars” and click on “Add” at the bottom of the list. Then just navigate through the categories to find the club and competition you want.

I would note a couple of things, however. And these are the reasons I’m keeping my calendar online and updated as well. The first is that there are no TV details for the games. This is understandable as mine’s geared at UK users whereas Google’s far more international. The second is that it looks like you have to subscribe to three or four calendars for each team if you want to follow their league, league cup and European fixtures as well. Why not one calendar for all fixtures regardless of competition?

Oh, and they’ve mis-spelled “Darllington” (sic) in the League Trophy section. Note that this is the Trophy and not the League Cup. They’re different and there doesn’t appear to be a listing for League Cup fixtures. Unless they’re included with the main team fixtures – in which case why not do the same with the League Trophy ones? [I just checked – they’re not. Google doesn’t list our fixture at Peterborough on the 22nd of September]

So, 75% for effort to Google. But I still think they’d have been better just replacing the ability to search for useful calendars. The work would be done for them – and better – by fans of the sports in question. Mind you, I bet the American sports are far better organised especially as, with the NFL at least, there’s only one competition.

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Easy Wednesday?

Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United F.C.

A few blogs have been mentioning that the last time Newcastle United played Sheffield Wednesday at St James’ Park, we won 8-0. Fair do’s, but a lot has changed since then!

For a start, we’re a shadow of the side we were then. It was Bobby Robson‘s first game in charge and a team almost always does better in that situation as players try to make their mark. And when that manager takes over from an utter arse, confidence is also an issue.

Non more so an example than Alan Shearer that day, who scored five. He’s always said Bobby brought him back from the brink and that was the game that proved it.

Wednesday were relegated that season and went into freefall. Everyone beat them. They aren’t that team any more. They won’t be so easy tonight.

Fingers crossed, but no way will we see 8 goals on either side.

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